Nineteen of us, a mixture of expats, property owners and part-time visitors to Sal Island, had planned a trip to Sao Vicente with the assistance of our trip rep, our very own Tracey from Barracuda Tours.
Sao Vicente Carnival 2017
We'd planned to spend some time at this years carnival and had prepared some outfits to wear. I had been looking forward to the trip for nigh on a year. Four nights and five days at Mindelo Carnival, an island tour of Sao Vicente and a day trip to Santo Antao were on the cards. Expectations were high!
A short efficient flight with TACV and quick transfer saw us all settled in the Mindelo Residence and Cafe Royal Hotel. We had a bird’s eye view of the opening day of carnival from the balconies outside our rooms. A delightful taster of what was to come.
The escorted tour of Sao Vicente was very educational. Information about the British influence on the island during the 1800’s explained the colonial influenced architecture in Mindelo and the golf course with its browns instead of greens! The bus then climbed the dizzy heights of Monte Verde, this was a little too much for some! The views however were spectacular and at some points reminiscent of Switzerland in summer.
We visited Calhau , the fishing village of San Pedro and lunched and paddled in the shallow lagoon at Baia das Gatas.
The next day we visited the island of Santo Antao. After a stomach churning ferry crossing we took another journey into the mountains. Unfortunately low cloud cover obliterated our view of the caldera but lower down the mountain, on the other side, the scenery was breathtakingly sensational. Stunning mountain tops and near vertical ravines conjured up scenes from Tolkein’s Middle Earth.
We travelled down into one of the verdant valleys and experienced what can only be described as ‘intensive farming’, but not in the way that we know it. Every bit of land was terraced, irrigated and cultivated. Yam nurseries in the slow moving streams and sugar cane, bread fruit, banana and papaya growing up the sides of the valley. All this obvious hard work and yet the atmosphere here was still and calm, as if time was standing still. All in all an exhilarating day. We will be back!
Five days of Carnival
Carnival itself was 5 days of one great spectacle after another. It offers something akin to a scaled down version of Rio carnival. It is astonishing that a relatively tiny island can orchestrate such an amazing extravaganza, colour and sound invaded the senses. Participating groups paraded through the streets displaying different themes. Each with an impressively designed float, sumptuous costumes and its own choreographed dance routines to pulsating rhythms from the drummers and musicians. It was a truly unique experience.
Sao Vicente and Santo Antao you did not disappoint.
I would make just one recommendation ...... JUST DO IT !